Weekly weigh in eleven

Filed in Blog by on August 20, 2008 10 Comments
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weekly weigh in eleven
Yes, yes, I’m late. I know.

There are two reasons for that. Firstly shame. I mean, can I really bear to tell you what went into our bin this week?

Secondly, and much more fun, I had something rather exciting in the post this morning, which has meant other things have taken the priority slot over my Wednesday morning weigh in. Here’s a big juicy clue.

So back to our weigh in. We’re a little red faced here at Chez Green this week. But it’s been an interesting time and has shown to me, yet again, how convenience reigns the landfill.

There have been a couple of issues to contend with in the past seven days. Little Miss Green has been ill. That meant no desire for food for a couple of days and then some very strong requests for certain foods during recovery. One of the things she wanted sausages and all I could find were ones on a plastic tray.

Mr Green was left to do Sunday lunch because I was worn out from three sleepless nights with Little Miss Green. He ended up with a piece of aluminium foil that had some set chicken fat in it. I usually scrape this into the gravy, but, Mr Green found it had set before he’d organised that 😀

In addition we had a friend to visit. Mr Green’s best friend whom we haven’t seen for three years. After looking after our sick bairn for a few days and feeling a little under the weather myself, out came the pre made curries, complete with non recyclable plastic trays.

So there we have it. The convenience of 21st century consumerism won through and swelled our dustbin.

Finally, Little Miss Green managed to snap a cd case in her room, so that ended up landfilled too.

This week in the bin we have:

1 biscuit packet – yes, we even bought biscuits this week; which is unheard of.
1 lentils bag
2 curry trays
a sausage tray
1 piece of foil full of chicken fat
1 broken cd case
1 plastic cheesecake collar – I know, I know……….

This all amounted to a rather shocking 177 grams.

We have just one more weigh in before our zero waste week, so we’d better think about all we are doing this week.

I feel quite unprepared for it all, I have to admit. Zero waste is one of those challenges that sounds easy, and seems easy at the beginning when the reductions are huge. But it seems that once you get under 150gms a week, the pressure and potential for failure really builds.

I’ve got a supermarket delivery arriving this morning. That will probably be full of all sorts of nasties too. I’d stopped using them, preferring to use our local supermarket where I can actually stop in front of the items and think about what I’m doing.

It felt far easier this week to sit in front of the computer and type in an order. But I know from past experience that this can lead to not such good packaging choices. There is an element of detachment when I do this about the end result of my purchases.

Wish me luck!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    Sorry to hear of the young ones ill health. It happens to us all at some time, child or adult.
    Zero Waste is an aspiration we should all aim at, though actual Zero is very difficult. With more and more people taking up the challenge that should hearten us all.

    Mr G mentioned that you may describe the pledges on Chris’s blog. That could give other readers there a chance to participate.

  2. Mr Green says:

    As you can probaly tell by now, we tend to live a fairly ‘normal’ lifestyle. I mean if we were fruitarians, or breatharians, the practicalities of producing zero waste would be somewhat easier. No… we are a fairly ‘average’ family, although a few quirks thrown in.

    What I’m beginning to see is more reuse possibilities in just about every form of packaging. Even today, I went round the house and substituted purloined saucers for plant pots watering trays, for black plastic meat trays that would otherwise be sent to landfill. There is a whole reuse culture that needs to be heavily explored. http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/ has some excellent tips…

  3. ASpidermonkey says:

    Hello Green Family,

    I hope little miss green is feeling better. I think what you are doing is wonderful: your blog has provided me with lots of great ideas that i have started to follow.

    I have started to keep and stock-take (and reduce) my non-reusable, non-recylable waste for this month. (Not sure that my housemates appreciate the extra bag of rubbish that will stay in the kitchen the whole time as a shameful reminder, but it might help spread the thought to them too!).

    Your family and blog is a source of inspiration! Thank you.

    P.S. Can I ask you what you do when you travel, go out (friends’ places, school fairs etc), and particularly at work. (ie: office lunch invites that involve plastic-filled catered food)? When i’m at home, setting my own parameters, I can usually do a good job of minimizing waste… but its a lot harder in other environments…

  4. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John,
    You know what? I was thinking about the whole zero waste thing this morning and realised what a ‘perfectionist’ and perhaps impossible thing it would be long term.
    I like your idea of your 1 black bag for however many weeks it will be; it takes the pressure off, allows you to relax into 21st century life a little but still makes an enormous difference – if we were to multiply that landfill saving 60 million times across the UK, we’d have the answer to our problem!
    I’m not sure about mentioning the pledges on Chris’s blog; that may well be seen as spamming and I wouldn’t like to do that.

    ASpidermonkey – welcome! I’m so glad you’ve joined our happy little site. You know how kids are – she’s bouncing around noisy and happy again now but thank you for asking!
    I’m so glad that our blog is helpful to you; that is our aim and you will always find us, and other people around to help with any questions or to offer suggestions and experiences.

    I think keeping your rubbish in view is great to bring awareness to the idea of reducing it further. And although your house mates might be reluctant, you never know how many seeds you are planting that will flourish in the future.

    I’m thinking about some solutions to the question you ask. It’s a fabulous question and one that many have. As you say, it’s easy to do the zero waste idea when you are at home, but it’s more challenging when out and about.

    I’m assuming then, that you don’t want to be responsible for creating waste when you are out; is that right? The thing is, if someone provides you with a meal, and perhaps a plastic fork and disposable napkin or a polystyrene container then really it’s not your responsibility because it wasn’t your choice to use them. But what you can do is bring awareness to caterers and ask about their policies.

    You might just be pleasantly surprised by others reactions and you could be a source of inspiration for some.

    I don’t know what your situation is, but are you in a position to join in with a lunch meeting but take your own food? This is a great way in which to ‘lead by example’ because people might ask about your choices and you can gently tell them why you are doing what you are doing. One friend of mine did similar and the boss asked her to be a ‘green champion’ and help green up the workplace – that’s a real story of success!

    When we go to friends, I can’t see waste being an issue because in a home environment people have their own cutlery and crockery etc. When we used to be involved with a school, we struck lucky because it was an eco school, so that was no problem!

    Perhaps there is something specific I didn’t understand from your question that you want more ideas about……….

  5. Hi Mrs Green,

    We have been discussing Zero Waste for nearly 3 weeks on Chris’s blog. Your September pledge is an example of this in action. Mention it there and I and possibly Mrs A. will back you. Getting others to join in, as you have done already, is a boost to the campaign. Do what you feel is right.

    On Chris’s latest topic one of the PPP (JoeThePack) tried to smash the topic by confronting Chris with a question. They really are a rum crew. I put in an entry criticising him in support of Chris.

  6. Hi Mrs G – Sorry to hear little Miss G has been ill. Lots of love to her and hope she’s now recovered. The key thing to remember about what you’re doing is that it’s an opportunity to look for and highlight alternatives that slot into your lifestyle easily and not to fret about those that can’t. It causes questions to arise that confront the quality of waste management services and packaging and that’s as good as it needs to get. You have done the most fabulous job of questioning and there can be no such thing as perfection.

    I hope what you find after your Zero Waste challenge is a new normality, like the one that emerges after having a baby. It’s a life changing experience that settles over time. Take my Quavers and some other odd bits and pieces that come my way. If I pick them up, I think “shall I…hmm…but landfill?” then if the urge is too great, then the obvious occurs. I feel the pinch of guilt but remember it’s the bigger picture that counts and the message that you’re spreading to others. You’re spreading such a great inspiration, so please remember that.

    Take it easy. You’ve got loads of support and nobody will be on your back for what gets thrown away. Remember little Miss G’s creative skills too…I bet she’ll have something up her sleeve to help you out. Good luck. I’m right behind you.

    BTW…I agree with John, it would be great to profile your pledge on Chris’ site. If you feel bad about spamming, why don’t you email her to see if she can give you a plug? 😀 x

    P.S. Mr G…love the concept of Breatharians, but bet someone would come up with the concept of bottled air.

  7. Tracey Smith says:

    Hi Missus – yes, I must endorse the comment from AMA – take it easy, the journey to changing attitudes and acts is a bloomin’ long one, but you are doing amazingly well and the health of the family comes first and foremost.

    Sending all my love too,

  8. Mrs Green says:

    Thanks John. I have discussed with Chris about promoting the zero waste challenge and we felt that it wasn’t the right thing to do.
    Although I would welcome the coverage, it is perhaps, best to leave us on the blogroll and allow people to find us.

    Tracey and Mrs A – thank you for your well wishes and your support. My perfectionist is kicking in and giving me some grief; she’s wearing me out too – you must have both sensed that across the ether!

    I’m kind of looking forward to it, but sort of looking forward to the middle of September when the pressure is off again.

    Still, Mr G has a very entertaining post for us tomorrow which is sure to lessen the pressure and have us all giggling through our morning read…………..

  9. Kris says:

    Hi Mrs G – I can completely sympathise with your week as mine has been a lot like that too. I’m glad to hear LMG is feeling better.

    I find that when ill-health gets in the way it can be impossible despite good intentions to stick to normal good practice – I’ve had all exercise and meal planning go out the window this week, and ended up with so little food in the house that two takeaways have inviegled their way in.

    On the subject of sausages, they do seem to always come in trays and wrap or waxy plastic wrap at the supermarket, but are often sold in a small polythene bag at the Farmers Market (probably a better sausage product there too) which may be wash and send-off-able?

  10. Mrs Green says:

    Sorry to hear you had a rubbishy week too, Kris. I hope you and your household are well now.
    Regarding the sausages, I can get them without any packaging at all from our butchers and we usually get these. After LMG had been ill I wanted to feed her solely organic food and I knew I could get them from our supermarket delivery, so that’s what I did; complete with plastic tray and shrink wrap. I called the producer of the plastic tray, but there is no way to to recycle them yet.
    Ho hum…….

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